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John Edward Kinzer
IU Department of Theatre and Drama

Jennifer Piurek
University Communications

Last modified: Monday, November 24, 2008

IU to present apocalyptic urban fantasy “Marisol,” by “Motorcycle Diaries” writer

Nov. 24, 2008

What: Marisol, presented by IU Theatre and Drama
When: Dec. 5-6, 9-13, 7:30 p.m., with one matinee Sat., Dec. 13
Where: Wells-Metz Theatre at Lee Norvelle Theatre and Drama Center at Seventh Street and Jordan Avenue, IU campus

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Written well before the tragic events of Sept. 11, the chaos and destruction in award-winning José Rivera's compelling play Marisol keenly focus our memories on that terrible day.

Rivera's Oscar-nominated The Motorcycle Diaries -- a film adaptation of Ernesto "Che" Guevara de la Serna's memoirs from a motorcycle journey across South America in the 1950s -- inspired a cult following. With Marisol, Rivera's most frequently staged play, he inspires theatergoers with a message that hope is possible for humanity, even in a broken, disjointed world.

Indiana University's production of Marisol is directed by Sabrina Lloyd, a second-year Master of Fine Arts student in directing. Lloyd describes Marisol as a dark fairytale with both disturbing elements and a vision of "a limitless, beautiful new idea for the future."


Lloyd compares Marisol to John Lennon's song "Imagine."

"It's about the pain of letting go of all the things that separate people from each other and working toward living in a world of interdependent love. We need each other, we cannot survive without each other, and that love is infinite and inclusive," she said. Lloyd calls the play "entertaining, provocative, dramatic, scary, sad, threatening, funny and thought-provoking" with room to challenge belief systems.

Marisol is the thesis role for third-year MFA acting student Dawn Thomas. Just a few pages into her first reading of the play, Thomas was drawn to Rivera's "poetic, edgy" language. "The play doesn't tug at the heartstrings so much as it tugs at our sense of humanity," Thomas said.

During her preparation for the role, Thomas spent time exploring how Marisol's faith leads her through life, immersing herself in Marisol's surprising strength and instinct for survival. Thomas says the character of Marisol is like many of us who think we're alone in this world, seeing everyone around us as some sort of potential threat. When guardian angels abandon their charges on earth, Marisol finds ways to help and learn from others, in the process discovering both how interdependent we all are and how interconnected.

Thomas's previous roles at the Norvelle Center include An American Ma(u)l (Georgina), Measure for Measure (Isabella), Side Man (Patsy), and The Birthday Party (Lulu). She also appeared this past summer at Brown County Playhouse in How the Other Half Loves (Fiona Foster) and The Boys Next Door (Mrs. Fremus/Mrs. Warren/Clara.).

The supernatural elements of the show, including an ethereal army, presented special challenges for the design team. Inspired by photographs of the aftermath of Sept. 11 in New York City, second-year MFA scenic design student Hyunsuk Shin (Metamorphoses) created a broken city of angles, ruins and iron bars that nevertheless continues to shelter its inhabitants.

Third-year MFA costume design student Scott Anderson (Dead Man Walking, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, The Real Thing, Side Man) dresses characters ranging from the homeless and yuppies to lunatics and angels. Besides building Shin's designs in the Wells-Metz space, first-year MFA student Steven Workman (technical director) was asked to perform "magic." Others on the creative team include the sole faculty member, visiting assistant professor of lighting design and alumnus Ryan J. Davies (lighting design), and IU junior Chris Lee (sound design).

The play's overall message, said Thomas, is that "you take responsibility for your own actions, for your own life, for your own fate, and embrace that as a beautiful thing. You make your own destiny and live the best you can -- human to human."

Ticket Information

Ticket prices: $20 for adults and $15 for those 30-and-under, students and seniors Tuesday through Thursday evenings and the Saturday matinee. Student Rush Tickets for $12 cash with valid IU Bloomington student ID are available the day of each performance. Group ticket prices are available.

For ticket information, call 812-855-1103 and ask for information about Lee Norvelle Theatre and Drama Center tickets. Tickets can be purchased in person at the IU Auditorium box office, Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., or at the Lee Norvelle Theatre and Drama Center box office, which opens an hour before curtain. To purchase tickets by phone, call Ticketmaster at 333-9955, or buy online at